Along the old Erie Railroad at Swain, New York.

Between 1986 and 1991, I documented vestiges of the former Erie Railroad using hundreds of rolls of Kodachrome, Ektachrome, and T-Max black & white film.

I made dozens upon dozen of trips along Conrail’s lines, seeking to make images of this fascinating railroad in its environment.

There could be long intervals between trains, and some days were more productive than others.

October 14, 1988 was memorable because it was a perfect day. I had a very early start. The autumn foliage was at its peak. It was clear from dawn to dusk. Conrail and Delaware & Hudson ran a lot of trains, and I had Kodachrome 25 in my Leica.

Among the photos I made that was this view of Conrail SD50 6774 leading OIBU west through Swain, New York at 8:07am.

I like this image because although 6774 is key to the composition, it isn’t the only subject of interest and it captures the essence of rural western New York in autumn.

Soon old 6753 will be featured on TTL. The lure of the quest is about finding treasures along the way. If I found the prize too soon there would be no joy in the path to it.

This is the raw and adjusted scan of my original Kodachrome 25 slide. Exposed at 8:07am on October 14, 1988 using a Leica M2 rangefinder with f2.0 50mm Summicron lens. My old Dodge Dart is parked behind me with the engine running. Soon, I’ll be in pursuit of this train en route to my next desination. Slide scanned with Nikon LS5000 slide scanner powered with VueScan 9.8.04 software.
This the same scan as above, but adjusted using Adobe Lightroom to improve its presentation. I’ve lightened the image, reduced contrast, warmed the color balance, lightened and warmed shadow areas, while slightly increasing overall saturation.

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